Alan Shipman

We Are All At Risk

Plague's Progress: A Social History of Man and Disease


Gollancz 266pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Congratulations, you’re alive. After a chapter or two of this microbe’s-eye-view of human history, it is tempting to wonder how our ancestors ever made it. Painful ends have been with us from the beginning, and it is a mystery how mauled, malnourished cavemen struggled on to become contagion-ridden city dwellers. Wherever there is life, Arno Karlen relentlessly shows us, there are parasites to feed off it and pathogens to snuff it out. The surprise is less that bubonic plagues and flesh-eating bugs should still be with us, but that we could ever have presumed to show them the sickroom door. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,